Yoga is an art and science of healthy living. It facilitates the union of individual consciousness with universal consciousness. The term is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ meaning “to unite”. The aim of SÄdhanÄ (yoga practice) is to overcome all kinds of suffering and promote holistic health, happiness and harmony.
Yoga is a spiritual discipline, an invaluable gift of ancient Indian traditione and is based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body.
Sage Patanjali describes yoga as ‘chittavrittinirodhah’ i.e. suppression of the fluctuations of consciousness. It calms the restless mind and redirects energy into constructive channels. When the mind is controlled, it provides a reservoir of peace and generates abundant energy for human upliftment.
Benefits of yoga.
Yoga is associated with purity, the cleansing of body, mind and soul. It is beneficial for the following reasons:
· Physical fitness.
· Management of various lifestyle- related disorders.
· Helps reduce depression, fatigue and anxiety.
· It also regulates menopausal symptoms.
Practice of Asanas without the backing of yama and niyama (basics) is mere acrobatics. Yoga demands discipline, faith, tenacity and perseverance.
Cleanliness and evacuation: your body must be free of all toxic matter. Yoga feels better when performed after a bath.
Clothing and food: one must be light and free, both inside and out. An empty stomach and comfortable clothing will enhance your experience.
Time: yoga must be practiced either early in the morning or late in the evening to rid you of fatigue.
Breathing: breathing correctly is very important. It should be done through the nostrils only.
Women: yoga should not be performed during the menstrual period. As for during pregnancy, it can be practiced mildly during the first three months.
- Loosening of the neck, trunk and knees.
· Brain: the body alone should be active while the brain should remain passive, watchful and alert.
*Note- Do not do Asanas on the bare floor, use a folded blanket/ yoga mat. No undue strain should be felt. It is a sign of error.
During the practice
Practice sessions should start with a prayer or invocation as it creates a suitable environment to soothe the mind.
• Yogic practices shall be performed slowly, in a relaxed manner, with awareness of the body and breath.
• Do not hold body tightly, or jerk the body at any point during the practice.
• Perform the practices depending on your own capacity.
• It takes time to get good results, so persistent and regular practice is very essential.
• A Yoga session should end with meditation/ deep silence /ÅšhÄntipaá¹ha.
The most popular and widely practiced set is the “Surya Namaskara”(Sun Salutation). It is quite a complete workout for the physical system- a comprehensive exercise form without equipment. It comprises of a combination of 12 yogic postures and deep breathing exercises, aimed at invigorating every important muscle and almost all vital organs in the body if done correctly and with precision.
In all, yoga is an enriching experience. It helps relieve your daily stress and improves the clarity of your mind.